“As a Thai woman from a small village, when I look back I think I have always done the best I could for my family and community. I am happy with what I do and what I have. I live a simple life and don’t want much more than what I have today.
“My name is Amporn Kantee. I was born into a farming family in 1953 and grew up in the village of my birth in Lamphun Province. I was the first of seven children and left school after primary level. My brothers and sisters did the same as we didn’t really see the value in continuing at school and it cost a lot of money. My brothers and one sister went into construction work while I and another sister took up weaving—very few of the women in my village would stay in school.
“Like many other village women both my grandmother and mother would weave silk when the rice planting finished. My mother started to teach me to weave when I was around 14 years old. It took me a year to learn how to weave cotton and then I started to learn to weave silk, which is much more complicated. It took me around two years but once I had got it I never went back to cotton.
“When there aren’t communal activities happening in the village I spend most of my time weaving—my husband does construction and we don’t farm. Whenever there is a house warming, wedding or a funeral we stop working and take part in the ceremonies and rituals, helping out with the neighbors as is our custom. We go to help and share in each other’s ritual events—it is our way of life.
“Neither of my two daughters took up weaving as they carried on with school and went to university and got degrees. One is now an accountant and the other is doing community development work. They are doing what they like to do and I am happy for them. I can understand why they didn’t take up weaving: it takes such a long time to learn, and then it takes a long time to create a piece of cloth. And then after all that you don’t get paid so much for your work.
“I will continue to weave silk until I can no longer do it. I’ve been weaving for more than 40 years and it is central part of my life. I love every piece I have woven and I am always happy when people use and appreciate something I have woven.”
Browse Amporn Kantee‘s silk items.
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Text and images by EZISTOCK © Ezistock Co., Ltd., 2012 – All Rights Reserved.
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